Professor Park Geun-young of Global Hotel Tourism Department at Wonkwang Health Science University
Professor Park Geun-young of Global Hotel Tourism Department at Wonkwang Health Science University

Tourism markets around the world are being hit hard by Covid-19. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the number of tourists has plummeted by 65 percent since March when the ban was imposed, especially by 95 percent in April and May. Therefore, each country is making efforts to revive their travel and tourism industries.

In this situation, there is a new term for travel trends. It is called ‘Bleisure.’ Bleisure, a combination of business and leisure, is to enjoy leisure for the remainder of a business trip or to travel by adding individual vacation schedules before and after a business trip. This has become a fast-paced situation as work-life balance trends become common and IT technology development allows them to work without restrictions in time and space.

Already, advanced countries are actively utilizing Bleisure to improve employee welfare services. Since the 2000s, Europe and the U.S. have supported employees to go on business trips or attend international events, accompanied by family members, or to use vacations before and after official schedules. This showed that business trips were a stable extension of daily life, and as a result, it also had a positive impact on work performance. In addition, the Japan Tourism Organization is also working to create an environment where people can enjoy leisure time or travel before and after the official business trip schedule by incorporating telework.

Bleisure has a positive impact on not only the domestic tourism industry but also the overseas tourism industry. According to a report by Expedia Group's Media Solutions, the percentage of overseas business trips leading to personal travel rose sharply in three years from 52% in 2016 to 80% in 2018. Similarly, Bleisure is influencing fashion trends. The clothes of office workers are changing according to social changes, and the influence of Bleisure is added to this, attracting attention to comfortable blazer looks considering leisure activities.

In the midst of the trend of work-life balance, Bleisure is an opportunity to enjoy a leisurely and happy life. It is naturally emerging to become the major trend. Accordingly, it is time for the tourism industry to develop new tourism contents and products that focus on travelers' needs in line with this.

What tourists are looking for as soon as possible, is being able to go on a trip to a tourist destination where people are gathered and enjoying cultural life without worries by eating and chatting face to face with people.

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